New stuff, scroll down.
I'm over there on Quora.com, answering questions.
Huh, just had another realistic dream, my fourth. These are the ones with
incredible detail, like sitting through a 2hr movie backed up by man-years
of scriptwriting and research. Early one was when I was female, a head
designer for a large pharma/fashion corp, trying to track down industrial
spies who had been stealing out tech. They were after my chem breakthrough
which could make customers'
hair look just like 1950s retro-Kandy-concept-car sparkle-finish, a big
the time. This was happening in a semi-domed city, with 20ft flatscreen
displays all over every wall, constantly playing advertizing videos. I
saw a couple products in use there which nobody has ever conceived
(they're patentable. I could become "the inventor," like with transparent
aluminum.) Years later, the movie "Minority Report" came out. It
showed something pretty close to the city in my dream; I'd been walking
around all over inside it (except the movie didn't have those two kickass
product ideas!) Second dream, I was very old, a long-bearded smelly
unbathed street beggar waking up downtown in bright sunlight, but the sun
was fake, and all the passersby on the sidewalk were naked (only poor
people wore clothes.) Giant buildings from Bladerunner, filthey streets
and sidewalks. Crowd of naked rich teenagers drags me onto my feet with
promises of spare change, then talks me to going into a bodymod tech
botique, and buys me expensive top-of-line artificial eyes. They're
installed. Now, everyone I
see has motion-tracked opaque CGI clothing, which I'd never
seen before because I couldn't afford eyes like the normal people all
used. Ah, I suddenly get it, the punch line. This was all about using
rich parent's credit card
to play a big joke on the disgusting homeless derelict, because
I can't turn off that feature, and now I never will oogle the naked
teenagers anymore. The entire dream, from start to finish, turns out to
be a comedy indie short film! (Years later Karla Speed McNeil has the
unwanted-artificial-eyes sequence in Finder! We're both tapped into
something. "where do you get your ideas?" From dream journal!) Now the
third dream. I'm at Burning Man many years from now,
trying to get to a certain camp by crossing through many other art
installations. Our camp is the one with the the giant retro-robotic
oracle goddess, made from an old "real doll" female upper body, plus a
lower-half, a 20ft black fiberglass scorpion body with motorized joints
and giant stinger-tail raised behind. Oriental hangings and carpets, a
Bedouin tent. The "real doll" section is automated, a
rod-driven puppet which moves arms and head, but her face and
mouth is static. Tens of thousands of people, "supplicants", have over
the years crawled on their knees across our dusty carpets to approach the
goddess and ask their Question. Her "brain" had once been a bank of
cassette tapes with sexy female voice-actor recordings, selected for
playback by a
hidden person person hitting one of several keys, producing the same
answers as MAGIC 8-BALL(tm)!!! An entire playa
camp forming the World's most expensive magic 8-ball. A puppeteer had
once manipulated the arms and head. But that was decades ago. More and
more tapes were added to the bank, and finally some unknown person had
built "The Randomizer," made from thousands of wooden parts, where
friction and bearing-slop would give coin-flipping and
deterministic-chaotic results (and later I found out that "The Turk" had a
fake one, complicated clockwork.) Ours really worked, and was a cube
about a meter on a side, hundreds of pounds of motor-driven wooden parts
to control the goddess-puppet. When triggered by noise (or the sound of a
question,) the arms and head would go through one of several sequences,
and a random
tape would speak an answer. We'd set up banks of hidden loudspeakers on
side of the "supplicant" position, but only playing mono, so the playback
sounds like mono headphones, as if the sound was coming from inside your
head, like telepathy. Fake art-installation telepathy: that way we didn't
have to animate her mouth! (Note that all this stuff was in the dream,
and on waking, I'm scribbling it all down and saying coooool i wish i'd
been the one who came up with that!) But recently many weird things were
starting to happen with the
Oracle. The wooden parts of The Randomizer change slowly over years
through wear, and now
motions weren't the same all the time, and also, one tape would interrupt,
then play a fragment from another. Often the puppet would "suddenly
glare" at the supplicant and say "I KNOW ...YOU" before any question had
even been asked, and it would actually be a person who'd been there
the broken audio sequences were starting to form crude but sensible
they were predicting genuine future events and giving advice corresponding
to the questions asked. Popularity soared, and the line of people waiting
to consult the automaton-Scorpion-Goddess were many hundreds of feet long,
lasting even all night.
The puppet had clearly developed a memory, no
question, yet the wooden randomizer had no memory bits. The puppet had
started performing human-like motions which weren't programmed, even
displayed a sense of humor and a takes-no-bullshit "arch warrior goddess"
personality in the audio segments, yet nobody had designed-in any such
thing. (Upon waking, I
realized that this dream reveals Frankenstein's Secret, how to create a
living being, by providing a randomizer, plus harnessing the "Tibetean
Tulpa phenomenon," where the concentrated belief and expectations of tens
of thousands of "supplicants" at Burning Man had accidentally altered the
wooden Randomizer, "haunting" it with a "discarnate spirit" which their
expectations had programmed to think, and to communicate with people by
slightly manipulating the vast patterns of friction inside the cubic-meter
wooden "computer" which ran the puppet limbs and selected taped audio
sequences. This, all from a dream?! (See, it's like a movie, with
scriptwriters and research!) But but but, that suggests that human beings
might also be the same. WE ARE HAUNTED RANDOMIZERS, hooked up to muscles
and eyes; vast patterns of chaotic beat-wave ring-oscillators made from
neurons, with some sort of outside pattern (of nonlocal zero-point
fields?) actually providing the consciousness/memory/personality.
Anyway, the dream continues.) After the unexplained disaster (Disaster?)
where all of Burning Man was torn down (riots? giant storm?) I'd managed
to rescue from the the wreakage just the tape bank, The Randomizer and the
upper real-doll part of the puppet. I had them crudely hooked together,
clearly repaired, but it wouldn't work. Sitting in our huge yurt-tent on
piles of cushions, people were joking, and someone made some risque sexual
comment about "wanting to get stung" by the scorpion-goddess. Whereupon
the randomizer starts grinding, the puppet turns and looks at the person,
and the tape bank plays an offended female voice, "THAT WOULD ...BE
I jolt awake, and start writing the whole thing down so it doesn't fade away. Feb 2017
Repair your BD-10 "vacuum tester" Tesla Coil. Or Violetta Violet Wand. Or, buy up some dead Violet Ray tesla-coil quack-medical devices on eBay, then get them working for resale. (Or did you just want to cure your brain-fog, rather than zapping sensitive body parts?)
Get plastered with the Golden Hoard?
In the USA, solvent-filled Xmas bubble lights are available, but not in many other countries. This is a shame, because the Methylene Chloride isn't necessary. Works fine with Ethylene Chloride (plexi solvent cement #3) The same effect also occurs with water. But, you must carefully exclude every bit of air, using a somewhat-hard vacuum and well-degassed water. Some smart supplier should start selling these things in the UK, using water in a vacuum, boiling at 40C deg or so. A bit of sand at the bottom to trap microbubbles for nucleation.
Did Nikola Tesla invent
coaxial cable? And radio,
speedometers, neon advertising signs, etc? Yes and no. Mostly yes.
But no, not the coax.
My Livescribe pen is repaired, I replaced the display. DIY repair is possible. The displays and batteries for Echo smartpen are "no user servicable parts inside. Ahem. The main trick is taking the darned case apart.
I've used up my 15min of fame, and now I'm using up yours! On the next season of "Outrageous Acts of Science" (in the UK called "You Have Been Warned,") I'll be melting some beer bottles in a microwave oven, as seen on my Youtube vid (plus perhaps some extra footage.) Season 3, episode #7. I originated this glass-melting trick back in 2003, as part of our monthly science/crackpot "salon" here in Seattle. Lots of microwave physics "unwise demonstrations" for the high school classroom. And previously on YHBW, extreme cavitation damage.
Just about finished updating 300-400 pages here, making them squishable for phone, to avoid the Google Mobile-geddon.
For example, the Good Stuff page now will smash down its jpegs when you narrow your browser window. And DIY Simple Telescope will even squash it's fixed-width ASCII diagrams! (And, this here News page is finally viewable on mobile, except for some leftover Courier-font <PRE> stuff found way way down below 1999.
SITE METER TURNED EVIL?
Sometimes I see mysterious pageload errors from
vindicosuite.com, also pages appearing only slowly while a hitcounter is
loading. More recently I get occasional malware popup ads "A MESSAGE
FROM OUR SPONSORS", they're these
big gray windows seemingly served by ebay, youtube, etc.
getting them at work, and tracked it down. Consensus is that "Site Meter"
sitemeter.com aka vindicosuite.com is behind all this. If you visit any
with a tiny Sitemeter hit counter, it supposedly loads a script/cookies
which wait for you to visit eBay etc., then display the obtrusive
screen-wide ad *only* if you're on eBay, otherwise it lurks hidden.
Sometimes it plays music. And
it's been going on since 2007.
Greeaat. Site meter is the hitcounter at the bottom of nearly all of my pages!
For your ref, here are warnings etc. about Sitemeter
On google maps, streetview, here's a local Eastside good image of the Google Car and bike trailer, also the GoogleBike-rider's girlfriend bored and perturbed. (Note that you can Streetview-drive all over the sidewalks in that park, go out to the end of the dock, even climb stairs.)
Added some to Ultra-simple Generator, GOING FURTHER: HEAVY-DUTY VERSIONS. No, there is no need to stamp out hundreds of iron sheet laminations. We can use the same idea that Edison used for his first industrial products: the Gramme Dynamo. Its "laminated" rotor is actually a ring wound from iron wire. DIY becomes possible again.
ThunderfOOt and Veritasium fighting over Kelvin Thunderstorm?
Hmmm, synchronicity, I just worked on a commercial design for a giant one.
The issue of water-resistance came up. Here's a bit on that,
Salt water and that "Kelvin's
PIKA-SHOES is back!
Yes, Electronics Goldmine stopped selling those useful little
-8,000-volt power supplies back in 2003 or so. And even the 120VAC
vanished from All Electronics. But suddenly some Chinese company has them
again, and they're all over eBay for about $5 each!
(They say 6 kilovolts, but they actually run at 8KV unloaded. Crank
them up to 10KV using higher DC input.)
Now it's over, I'm dead and I haven't done anything that I want, or I'm still alive, and there's nothing I wanna do.
|05/09/2014||ART BELL SHOW! Sunday 5/11/2014, I'll be on there doing the SLI streetlights and Electric Human phenomenon, Coast to Coast AM with Richard Syrett 10PM PST|
MYTHBUSTERS: THE GREAT MENTOS ERROR
Everyone seems convinced that the 'explosions' of cola and Mentos(tm) are
caused by chemicals, and by solid nucleation sites. Wrong. It's actually
The outer layer of Mentos is an air/sugar foam, not a white
pigment. The dissolving Mentos-ees will release billions of microbubbles
to seed the carbonation froth. But how to prove this? After all,
liquids which contain a cloud of invisible bubbles are not so
different than liquids full of "nucleation" chemicals. (And Mythbusters
chemical-based. We know that Mythbusters is always right.)
<grin> Well, we could scrape/polish the candy surface to eliminate
the supposed "roughness," and see if the explosion still occurs. Melt the
surface with a flame? Or try the experiment with high-sugar carbonated drink,
where, if the Mentos can't dissolve, even the roughest Mentos won't
provoke any frothing.
BRAINSTORM!!!! Water with a bubble-cloud is compressible,
and the acoustic velocity falls lower when compared to water without any
bubble-plume. So, just do the "hot chocolate effect" acoustic demo, but
rather than dumping powder into hot water, instead dump Mentos(tm) into
cold. Also, the pitch of the clinking sound should progressively descend
as the Mentos release increasing numbers of microbubbles.
Here's other tests besides flame polishing: with the Mentos in water, rapidly lower the air pressure by about 50%, and note that the invisibly small bubbles suddenly grow large enough to easily be seen as a white plume. (Works well by using a "wine bottle pump" vacuum plunger thingie.) The candy surface spews out invisible "smoke," and we can make it become visible. Then break the vacuum seal on your pressure chamber and the white plume winks out. Or another: dump some Mentos into some water which has a bit of dish detergent. Later a white froth of un-popped microbubbles is found on the surface. Or, wet some mentos and let it drip into cola to see violent fizzing without any rough surface touching the cola. Then instead if we save up some mentos-drippings and wait an hour to let any microbubbles in the mentoswater dissolve (or rise and burst,) then that same mentoswater becomes inert, no longer provokes fizzing of cola. Or, with submerged Mentos in tap water, pass extremely bright light beam through the water adjacent to Mentos to search for microscopic bubbles. (Video projector lamp? Scanned 5Watt violet laser?) With enough light, scattering should make the released plume of invisible microbubbles appear as an invisible "smoke." Finally: watch the fluid flow around Mentos in water. Dissolving sugar should make a descending current, but if there's enough microbubbles present, their low density may create a rising plume instead.
My recipe for mideastern party dip, Baba Ganouj, 2005.
Wow, apparently I own two US dollars
worth of Bitcoin|
Nearly finished that old WHAT IS COHERENT LIGHT? article. I'd never really understood lasers, despite optics courses and later realizing the classic misconceptions that plague this whole topic. No, photons don't look like a little sine-wave drawn by a wiggling pencil.
LUNAR INVERSE SUBSUN?
I've occasionally heard reports of two moons seen in the sky. Quite a few reports, but no photos. Yet this effect might not be totally impossible. It might be an inverse subsun phenomenon, closely related to light pillars or "moon pillar." For example, during a plane trip over desert, if there is a layer of cirrostratus or cirrus below you, and if the sun is near the horizon, sometimes you see a sharply focused second sun below the first. It looks just like a sun reflection on flat water peeking from below the clouds, as if there's a big lake hidden down there. But under the clouds is desert and mountains. The "water" is actually a layer of suspended ice crystals, all of them slowly settling horizontally like tiny dinnerplates. Even turbulence won't disturb this if irrotational (and it usually is.) Together the flat crystals form a crude mirror. So instead, what if you were BELOW this mirror in the sky? If the moon was out at night, and if it was very, very low in the sky, then maybe you'd see a "subsun," a clear sharp moon reflection. But it would be upside-down from a normal subsun. An inverse subsun. The real moon would have a (perhaps dimmer) false moon hanging in the sky directly above it. (But if the apparent second moon was to the side of the first, or if the two moons were seen high in the sky, then the phenomenon still remains unexplained.)
|10/10/2013||For the last couple of years I've been hanging out on reddit.|
I made it to NPR! Go listen+add comments to "An Engineer Beats
the Physics of Traffic," http://goo.gl/9oXl0C (the NPR page for my brief interview on Weekend Edition)
Added lots more finds to
Full length SF movies from Youtube. Piles of stuff there
to watch. Also lots of anime and indie animations, and always
more odd physics on Physvids archive
Added a Business Cards page, typed in a very old sheet of ideas for science teacher's givaway cards.
|5/23/2013||Added a Tesla FAQ, discussion of Nikola T. trivia, some insights and little-known weird facts.|
Recurring (recursiving!) late night self-referential philosophical musings: anyone who has been caught using the fallacy of Poisoning the Well is no longer trustworthy, all their further arguments are suspect, and anything they say is merely a dishonest attempt to delude us! :)
|8/21/2012||Added What Is A Tesla Coil?|
Updated the UNUSUAL PHENOMENA REPORTS section, hundreds of new stories, vanishing toilet paper, people teleporting out of lethal accidents, many electric humans and Ball Lightnings. Even some twice-arriving dopplegangers
Pressure of unopened cola
A coke bottle. When you shake it, does the pressure rise? Well, there's an easy way to detect pressure changes. Hold a plastic bottle by the cap, then whack it by whipping your knuckles across the side in a glancing blow. It rings like a bell. The pitch is determined by fluid mass and tautness of the plastic: by gas pressure. If the pressure rises, the pitch will rise. I go and get a sealed warm soda. Whack it a few times to remember the pitch of the bell-tone. Now shake it a bit, let the bubbles clear, then whack it again. The tone doesn't change. Shaking it didn't alter the pressure. Next, if I put it in the fridge for 15min, then whack/shake/whack, I hear the pitch go down. Shaking it DECREASED the pressure. As expected! After all, opening a warm soda releases a big burst of pressure, but not with cold soda ...so a soda bottle cooling in the fridge is in the process of dissolving its high-pressure CO2 pocket. Shaking it up will provide a large surface area, so the gas can suddenly go into solution. Pressure falls, bell-tone goes lower. (And if you test an hour-chilled bottle that's been warming on the counter for a few minutes, you should find the opposite result.)
Plasma w/injected carbon
When the multiple Tesla coils were set
up at Hackerbot, I brought my argon tank and filled roundbottom flasks.
Placed on a topload, arcs went capacitively through the flask and through
the argon. Amazingly we got some ball-lightning effects as arcs passed
through the "stopper" made of paper towel in the neck of the flask,
extended out into the air, and set the paper on fire. Plasma w/carbon
doping, doncha know. The streamers in the air had all sorts of glowing beads moving along them (a bit hard to see in
this photo.) Aha, here's some video showing the
mixture of flames and plasma streamers.
Argon flasks are a convenient way to position some stable fire+carbon
in the center of
a tesla coil streamer.
PS, OT, if I use yellow-green fluorescent highlighter to draw some anatomically correct bones on my hand, they're almost invisible in normal lightning. Then a high-power ultraviolet LED flashlight freaks people out even under bright room lighting. (safety note: a small percentage of people are allergic to fluorescein dye in these markers, so test first before you cover your entire body with fluorescent ink!)
Old news, photos of me at Burning Man '07, where I sat daily in Center House trying to put tiny flakes of TERRIFYING LETHALLY DANGEROUS DRY ICE in drinks of passersby. Also handling it wo/gloves while chewing up chunks and spewing CO2 plumes out my nostrils. (Sideshow fire-eaters think I'm insane.) A couple of photos.
TURN AIRPLANE VIDEOS INTO 3D HYPERSTEREO: II
While flying down to a conference I was wondering if cosmic ray
bombardment of brain tissue will again stimulate hypercreativity like it
has in the past. Nope. Nope, no weird ideas spontaneously appearing. As
soon as I thought this, immediately a simple and astounding idea
flashed into my head. You know hyperstereo trick mentioned below? A
stereo screen playing two delayed versions of footage shot from a moving
vehicle? Well, why not just open two browser windows and play the same
video of slowly crawling landscape, but play/pause them to give just the
right delay. Then view them with crossed eyes for 3D. DOH!!!! Try it
right now, NO CUSTOM SOFTWARE NEEDED! I'd been looking right at this idea
for months, but the simple trick didn't occur to me until my head was
being penetrated by naturally-occurring ionizing radiation. Pretty cool,
MOTOR CHALLENGE: making fake O/U motors
Set up a rotating carrier to repeat the above process. Probably repulsion
version #2 is easier because of the wider gap.
In other words, weaken the magnets at the bottom of the PE energy-hill.
Such a wheel should spin faster and faster. On each cycle, the magnets
interact first to give the wheel a strong kick. But during the trip
back out, the magnet force is weaker, so the opposite kick doesn't cancel
out and stop the wheel. The wheel spins, even against friction. Magnets
the fuel! :) Of course they can only supply a few joules total before
the "fuel" is gone and the wheel grinds to a halt.
But it takes energy to scramble the ferro domains and demagnitize. Any
sort of demagnetizer will, yes, extract energy, but it also acts as a
brake. So, the real question is, can the energy extracted during
demagnetization of one big magnet be used both to drive the wheel against
friction, and also to operate the demagnetizer-mechanism? Perhaps we'd
demagnetize a very very thin stripe on a large magnet face; and move to a
different stripe every cycle. Or better, demagnetize a tiny round spot,
with the demagnetizer being moved randomly each time until eventually it
hits every possible spot and the magnet strength is zero.
TURN AIRPLANE VIDEOS INTO 3D HYPERSTEREO
People on Make blog talking about XKCD hyperstereo video system. Hmmmm... just do it with software. I shoot L-R stereo pairs out the plane windows during trips, and I've wished for a piece of sw to convert my videos of slowly-passing landscape into realtime 3D. Think: if your cross-country plane trip is at 500MPH, that's 730fps, so if you play two copies of your video with a 1-sec delay, that creates a hyperstereo pair where your eyeballs are 730ft apart. Basically YOUR HEAD IS 1000 FEET WIDE. No problems with camera alignment, just hold the camera still while shooting. Position the two video playback frames adjacent on your monitor. If the footage was shot from the other side of the plane, then view it in crosseye instead of straight. Or do a red/blue anaglyph process, then prevent inside-out images by having a checkbox for L-R swap. Add a slidepot to move fast-forward or reverse in the video. That slides your giant head from side to side over the tiny landscape. Add another slidepot to vary the time delay between the two images (to vary the size of your Big Giant Head.)
Got picked up by FORGETOMORI.COM on my idea that Leaping Sundogs might be caused by thunderstorm electrostatics. Certain types of UFOs are explained. Foster & Hallett found that suspended ice micro crystals respond to .5V/mm electrostatic fields, and become totally aligned at only 10V/cm field strength. Ice crystals coming near a 9V battery cannot help but line up like iron filings! Also picked up by The Anomalist
|06/25/2011||Updated UNUSUAL PHENOMENA REPORTS. Lots of vanishing objects, Ball Lightning, hypnagogic paralysis, and funny weather. And the usual huge population of "Electric People."|
Video: Turn DigiKey catalogs into mushrooms!
(A proposal only, not a complete project.) As the project becomes more real, I'll put the instructions on this mushroom webpage.
A new section here:
Indie Animation Archive. As with physvids, basically
I imported my YT playlist into html.
Usta be you'd get slashdotted
or MeFi'd. Nowdays you get
just saw 145K hits
in a couple of days because of one extremely brief mention buried on the
second page of this one on Cracked below. It also spread to
reddit, i-am-bored, facebook. Wow, what would that have traffic number
been if it was an obvious link at
the top of the Cracked article? Cockbite!
|01/25/2011||Another video collection: Flir thermal IR cameras In particular see the "GasFindIR" stuff about halfway down the page. These cameras see gasoline as black ink with smoke pouring off! Finally, a thermal camera which actually detects ...human methane.|
|CNN: Online Science Competition! Google announces Global Science Fair. Grand prize is a $50,000 scholarship, 10 days in Galapagos with NatGeo, several others. You do need to be a fulltime student 13y to 18y.|
|12/15/2010||The coilgen science project now has a FAQ: building hamster generators, wind power, or just vastly increasing the feeble half-volt AC output.|
|11/16/2010||Added lots more to Odd Physics videos, including successful replication of anti-chirp time reversed water fountain.|
Scott Adams is talking about "crazy eyes" over on
I've done that!
Often when I'm working for long periods under polyphasic sleep schedule,
into that hypomanic idea-spewing region, I'll scare myself by looking in
the mirror: my eyes are WIDE. Eyelids not touching iris, I can see the
scelera above and below. Crap, is that how everyone sees me?!
Yep. But my eyes feel normal at the
time, if a bit cold. Crazy Eyes is automatic. wtf.
If I next watch the mirror and squint my eyes on purpose; forcing them
like a normal person's eyes, then they feel warm and half-closed as if I'm
sleepy. But in the mirror, the crazy eyes are now gone. HEY that's
While I'm in high creativity "flow mode," I'm really really awake,
and my perceptual world is embedded in my entire peripheral visual field,
and not just staring narrowly with central vision. Perhaps it's akin to
looking frightened. Fear does the same. (In order to detect approaching
dangers, fear makes us pull our eyelids back so they don't block
peripheral vision as much.) When terrifed you don't necessarily roll your
eyes, but when
your eyelids are that wide open, any glancing to the side will expose the
whites of your eyes. VERY noticeable to onlookers. (So when I then go out
in public, I have to make sure to intentionally squint and pretend to look
Also, I've noticed that if I can manage to adopt "crazy eyes" for a
considerable period, sometimes it kicks in and pushes me into the
high-creativity mental state. This seems to be akin to the "frowning makes
you angry" phenomenon. Even better than simply widening your eyes, is to
walk outdoors with fixed gaze at the horizon, while "staring" at objects
all throughout your peripheral vision. You put yourself into the Omnimax
Steady-cam visual world. Then you don't have to attempt to think outside
the box, since you *are* outside the box. So just start jabbering ideas
into your mp3 recorder while walking down the sidewalk ...and watch all
the oncoming pedestrians crossing the
street to avoid you. crazy eyes!
Sheer speculation: ancient tribes might survive better if their members
had evolved to display certain unconscious instinctual facial expressions.
For example, the look of feverish sickness says "stay away, infection danger." If instead all the sick tribal members looked perfectly normal, your whole tribe might get infected. They couldn't avoid the sick one. So also the wide-eyed crazed/fearful expression warns your community to all back off and avoid any unexpected behavior from Crazy Eyes person. The automatic facial sign would evolve, but also our visual sensitivity to those signs would increase. Rolling whites-of-eyes look "scary," but at the same time, the genuine scary people become instinctually programmed to automatically display the whites-of-eyes expression.
Imagine what might happen if ancient heavily-armed and mentally unstable
humans didn't display any outward sign that they'd
consumed large quantities of alkaloid plants or mushrooms or alcohol?
...or they'd just gone
without any sleep for two weeks?! Could be bad.
When I've put myself into an extreme creative state, I'll notice that my
eyes feel cold. Wide open lids are exposing more eye surface. Nowdays I
always notice this, and I think to myself "Yep, automatic tribe member
craziness-warning system been activated again."
Sleep: it's the Ayahuasca version of "getting demented from staying up
all night working." Known probable users: Edison, Picasso, Tesla.
|10/29/2010||Added months of messages to the Main Guestbook|
I WATCH YOU LOOKING
Early last century William James noted that whenever two people meet,
there are really six
There is each as he sees himself, each as the
sees him, and each as he really is. Times two.
James stopped too early though! :)
There is also the false facade-self we each try to present to the other
person (rather than the ones we really are, or the ones we believe we
are.) So eight people total. RD Laing then discovered: since there is
the version of
you that the other person sees when they look at you, therefore if
you can predict accurately how their perceptions of you differ from your
desired facade, this knowledge lets you take appropriate small actions to
tweak their viewpoint into perceiving the facade-self you wish to
project. The actual facade is an imperfect version of the desired facade.
So... ten people!
Then we have the
RD Laing spiral: you imagine that
person is noticing you perceive a warped version of themselves, but the
other person is smart enough to realize that you're trying to
predict what you're seeing them
see you see, so next they try to predict what you think they think you
think they think you think that they're seeing. That way they can use this
prediction and try to fool you into thinking that you've successfully
fooled them into seeing you in the way that you wish, when in reality the
fooler is being led on a merry chase by a devious opponent who correctly
guessed their thinking. But also you suspect that this is
happening! So you let them go on thinking that they've fooled you into
imagining that you've fooled them.
In other words ...once the human brain has evolved mirror-neurons, you can point them at each other to form an infinite tunnel of repeated reflections.
|8/25/2010||Just received my DIY electroluminescent lamp kit with conductive ITO glass and various Dupont EL inks. Now we'll see if Zinc Sulfide glow-paint works better than Zinc Sulfide t-shirt ink. And also make some EL wire|
|8/24/2010||Added lots more to Odd Physics videos Someone successfully fired a propane smoke ring at a distant flame! Also: DON'T SWALLOW (drinking liquid nitrogen.)|
|08/24/2010||On frequent questions in the "traffic waves" sections, I added:|
|07/22/2010||Does 'Amateur Science' pay? Well, I just checked, and see that I've made $110,000 from the website since 2004. Not enough to "quit your day job," but it pays for kids education and takes a big bite out of the rent.|
Coat a small model of "stealth" aircraft with a layer of weak gelatine. Immerse it in a small tank of very dense gelatine, and allow it to harden. Now when viewed against a white background the aircraft should appear much smaller than it really is. That's the "cloaking" effect: where the axial rays still strike the hidden object, but off-axis rays are bent away, causing the object to optically shrink in size. If the effect is strong enough, a fairly huge object can appear as a tiny dust speck.
|01/08/2010||BLOG: I'm moving this page to Wordpress. /amblog/ By hand. Gah. But finally people can post comments, subscribe to feed, etc. [NO I'M NOT! WITHIN DAYS IT FILLED WITH MALWARE. IT WAS GLOBAL, THE FAMOUS 2010 WORDPRESS BREACH. UMM, I THINK I'LL HAVE TO USE SOME OTHER SW INSTEAD.]|
|12/12/2009||VIDEOS: Odd Physics, a large collection of vid embeds. Very cool and strange stuff I found on youtube over the years.|
|11/12/2009||Yes, our hosting ISP eskimo.com just had major troubles. amasci.com was down for more than 24 hours.|
I always wondered what the transmitter
looked like for OTH megawatt broadband shortwave radar. It's HAARP, but
built on a gigantic vertical wall! See photos of the defunct rusting
'Steelyard' Duga3 transmitter in Russia
Years ago I was explaining rainbow optics ...and also explaining
thunderstorm dynamics. I stumbled across a strange idea: shouldn't the
electrostatic fields in thunderstorms have a visible effect on rainbows?
E-fields should slightly distort falling raindrops, causing the light
distribution of a rainbow to change slightly. We should notice that a
rainbow suddenly "flicks" during a lightning bolt, then slowly changes to
its initial pattern as the e-fields build before another strike.
I just heard from LH
on youtube about three videos
apparently showing this in
action! But it's not rainbows. Instead it's suspended ice crystals or
condensing just above a rising thunderhead, brightly back-lit by
the sun. Take a look:
Rather than distortions of droplets, perhaps these are "
parhelia light patterns caused by aligned ice crystals. A changing
e-field could rotate all the ice plates or columns, causing the sundog to
suddenly change shape and position. Or less likely,
perhaps some condensing droplets are changing size under e-field
influence (condensation rate of small droplets is known to be altered by
strong electrostatic fields.)
I just heard that relatively tiny e-field of 10V/mm will totally align suspended ice crystals. Storm fields are far stronger, so "leaping sundogs" should be quite common. See foster/hallett paper via Google Scholar search.
Brainstorm! The year 2012 ...it's the Mayan Y2K disaster!
Video: Evil Santa's Workshop '08
Dorkbot's mutant toys workshop, making give-aways for Santarchy's Santacon 2009. Barbies need octopus heads.
Video: Dry ice music
Dry ice CO2 gas pushes it instantly away from warm metal. Place it against a metal plate, and it howls. But the metal cools down and it stops. Here's a mechanical solution.
I KICK MYSELF!!! You know the physics-demo where you cause a thin mylar ring to fly by electrostatic repulsion? Rub a balloon on your head, then the mylar strip hovers high in the air? Well someone figured it out: build a wand-shaped VandeGraaff generator. Probably the charged rubber band is enough. I was looking right at it, but didn't see it. That thing's now toy of the year, sold at Educational Innovations, Thinkgeek and elsewhere. Arrrrg.
ZINC NEGATIVE-RESISTANCE OSCILLATORS
The LC resonance is around 2KHz. I hooked the "burned zinc" device
between the 680ohm resistor and the far end of the loudspeaker. When I
probed it with a wire, I heard "tinks" at 2KHz as expected (shorting the
current-limited supply causes the LC to briefly ring.) But when I poked
certain spots in the burned crust, VERY LOUD oscillation. Too loud for
headphones. Very cool:
a sinewave generator with no transistors. I'll take it to the
Weird Science Salon tomorrow
SECRET OF WARDENCLYFFE?|
No one seems to know just how N. Tesla was going to use his high freq
Magnifying Transmitter to broadcast at VLF/ELF frequencies. 100KHz or
50KHz won't excite any Schumann global resonances. But if we can
manage to see through Tesla's eyes, the answer is fairly obvious.
It's my daughter Lillian's birthday. Hey, take a look at a "dress up" she made, also lots more of her stuff on Deviantart. Pretty good for a high school kid! (Heh, she'll probably make me delete this.)
ANOTHER "LIFTER" EQUATIONI realized I could calculate the maximum thrust for an electrostatic Lifter. I just assume that the ion receiver is flat, and it's getting a maximum e-field of 30KV/cm. Also, the energy stored in a capacitor at a certain voltage is the same as the work done in pulling the plates apart. So, the max lifting force in LBS is:
Newtons/M^2 = 0.5 * (3e6)^2 * 8.9e-12 = 40.1 Nt/M^2 = 10-3/4 lbs per square yardSo it looks like the Electrostatic Lifters are less like helicopters and more like helium balloons... except their thrust is proportional to area, not volume. Very bad. For example, a 10ft flying disk could *ideally* produce 65lbs max lift. If we want to build a Hugo Gernsback flying futuristic city- in- the- sky, it would be much better off with giant propellors or hydrogen chambers.
Video: Make your own liquid nitrogen
Dry ice and 99% rubbing alcohol form "poor man's liquid nitrogen," a cryo-liquid which instantly freezes flowers. Perform many LN2 demonstrations: quick-freeze fruit, rubber balls, etc.
I wonder if Quantum Mechanics stops existing if nobody is watching?
Video: Traffic Jam
It's fairly easy to erase part of the left-lane traffic jam on I-5 just south of Seattle. Sometimes a single driver can wipe out the whole thing.
YOUR PLACE IN LINE IS MEANINGLESS
Video: Abrasion holograms
I've made a few more videos: scratch holograms, magnet beads, Asian seed
drink wind tunnel, soda/ultrasound fountain.
MEMES: HOW DOES YOUR GARDEN GROW?
"Hey, you're the Traffic Waves guy?!!!"
"Hey, you're the Childhood brain guy?!!"
all together now...
"WE SENT YOU EMAIL, BUT YOU NEVER ANSWERED!!!"
Video: Melting glass in your microwave
Here's an alternate version of a classic physics demo. Rather than heating up a glass rod and then plugging it in to 120VAC, we heat up a glass bottle and plug it in to a few hundred watts of 2.1GHz RF.
Video: Ultra-simple Electric Generator
A great idea for school science fair. Don't make a motor; everyone makes motors. MAKE A GENERATOR! Light a bulb.
ACCIDENTALLY PRODUCING X-RAYS
Video: Bare-hand Bottle Smash
"Bring forth what is true; Write it so it it's clear. Defend it to your
Video: Dry Ice: LEEEEETHALLY DAAAANGEROUS?!!!
Video: Kitten Attaaaack!
Video: Stupid Steady Cam Tricks #4: Outdoors, and "Star Wars"
Video: Air Threads. I couldn't resist
- All children are artists. The problem is how to remain an artist once you grow up. - Picasso
ENOUGH OF VIDEOS!
How about some electrostatics? Try this:
WHO ACTUALLY SAID THIS?
How can I "R Burns-ify" this t-shirt slogan? Nothin' sends 'em scurry'n?
|04/21/2007||Videos: Having ideas, thermal cam rubber band, Bumbershoot '05, science job.|
CURES YOUR ATHSMA TOO
|04/08/2007||I think I've made a breakthrough. It's scaring the pants off me. Who will be the first to build this huge device? (Note: it's no beginner project.) Go and see Runaway breakdown, and the idea which inspired it, Tesla's accident with the Colorado Springs utility plant. If those links go bad, I'll put up a mirror copy restoring the disabled images.|
|03/24/2007||Videos: Artist party, physics devices, also stupid camera tricks.|
|02/27/2007||Video: The Disgustoscope|
|02/10/2007||More videos: Dangerous maglev, pants methane, $0-cost Steadicam|
|01/16/2007||Link to Videos: Possible Ball Lightning on the BL Page, also try Weird Physics vid collection|
|01/01/2007||Updating Unusual! Three years worth. So far: Vanishing Objects, and Ball Lightning|
|12/24/2006||Added a new page: BILL B. VIDEOS|
INNER LIFE OF THE CELL
Now Harvard U. Media has a long animated movie of subcellular nanomachinery within leukocytes responding to tissue inflammation. Just as in my dream, all sorts of bizarre effects are unexplained: they're glossed over, or more frequently they're fudged by playing a motion sequence backwards (against the laws of thermo!) Specifically: HOW DO THE FRICKIN' ACTIN MOLECULES SELF-ASSEMBLE? The movie doesn't say. Instead they give us a picture of actin subunits magically pouring in from all directions and somehow finding the growing end. Uhhh... isn't that just an animation of depolymerisation and diffusion... but PLAYED BACKWARDS? Same with polymerization of tubulin: the subunits magically come running from great distances just so they can link up to the growing tubulin end. And these are just the most egregious examples. All through the movie there are molecules which somehow "know" where they're supposed to go, how they're supposed to rotate themselves, and they move with apparent intention over major distances. mRNA tips and ribosomes magically find the few rare membrane pores. Actin-snipping proteins both fly in from distances and also magically orient themselves through many degrees of freedom in order to bond to the fiber. Apparently the researchers are asking us to believe that all this happens by diffusion, by random tries and re-tries performed at high speeds. I got news for them: if you stick a padlock in a bag with a bunch of keys, you'll be shaking the bag a long time before one of the keys inserts itself. And in living systems, the bag should be filled mostly with quarters, with just a few keys, most of them not fitting that lock. And I thought *I* had delusions! But all this strange dishonesty will pop like a bubble if we admit the (possible) existence of a fairly simple thing: mechanical forces caused by AC electromagnetic fields in the nearfield regions between atoms and molecules having resonance lines at common frequencies. It's just attraction between electromagnets. But AC electromagnets. If their frequencies are different, they essentially don't recognize each other, and the net attraction becomes zero (well, it changes from attraction to AC vibration.) But if their frequencies are right ...or more likely a combination of different atomic frequencies in distant molecules are right ...then not only would the molecules pull together over relatively vast distances, but they would experience torques which twist them into proper positions. In other words, the unexplained "magically intelligent" motions of the macromolecules depicted in the above video might not be an exaggeration at all. They might be moved by electromechanical forces which act like simple computers communicating over hundreds of nanometers by coded radio signals.
KEELY SONIC SUPERHEATING WATER EXPLOSION CANNON!
While waiting inline during the opening of the "Steamboy" movie, several things suddenly fell into place for me. First, guess what happens if we leave some water for hours under high powered ultrasonic treatment? This degasses the water, removing all the dissolved air and preventing boiling-nucleation. Heating the water increases this effect. Second, what happens if we strongly heat some thoroughly-degassed water? If microbubbles are lacking, then the water temperature will rise far above 100C, and the water will become massively superheated. It may even superheat to such an extent that, once it starts boiling, the entire volume of water may convert to vapor.
Finally, what happens if we place
water in a resonant ultrasonic chamber where the transducer is located at
the bottom? In that case the pressure excursions will be maximum at the
surface of the transducer and at both surfaces of the water. But the
upper water surface will cool by radiation, so if cavitation were to
commence, it would be at the bottom of the water column against the
Taken together, this is a recipe for a water-jet cutter, or
more likely a cannon, but a cannon where the bullet is a slug of water
propelled by its own steam output. A tiny bubble will break out at the
bottom of the water column, and the bubble will instantly fill with live
steam. The water column will be smoothly accelerated upwards as the
superheated water emits a downwards "exhaust" of hot water vapor. As the
steam leaves the water, the water cools, but if the superheated
temperature was high enough, the water would not cool below
As the water slug leaves the pipe, the vertical water surface will emit vapor in all directions with little propulsive effect, while the bottom surface will act like a rocket engine. But would this be enough to punch a hole in a ceiling? Well, we know that whenever a kilojoule capacitor-discharge propels a water colunmn upwards, the water can punch a hole through a thick aluminum plate (tested by Richard Hull and Dr. Peter Graneau). Yet in this capacitor experiment, turbulent disruption converted their water column into a water spray after a few feet of travel through the air. But what happens when a superheated water slug sends steam outwards in all directions at high velocity? Maybe this would help preserve the shape of the water column on its journey towards the ceiling. It would be radial laminar outwards flow, punching upwards through the air like a giant frictionless finger, with the relatively tiny water-column protected in its center.
More billb videos:
Wagon-wheel reverse rotation effect
To start, tighten all the lug nuts, then turn them so they all point
at the hub. Now pick a nut as number zero and leave it as is. Go to
nut number one, and if you have 10 nuts with 6 sides, tighten that nut by
an extra 1/60th turn (ten times six to get a 60th.) Go to nut number two
and tighten it by an extra 2/60ths. Repeat. When you get back to nut
number zero, you still leave it alone (since you could also tighten it by
10/60ths or 1/6th turn, which would leave the hex facets still in the
same relative position.) Now when the wheel rotates, the pattern of
flashes will advance by 1/10th rotation when the wheel rotates once. But
will the pattern turn backwards? Figure it out. It depends on
which side of the vehicle you're adjusting. Maybe you were supposed
to loosen each lug nut by 1/60th turn. Watch:
video, 1.3 min,
also newer video, 0.6 min
Added note: these are somewhat common on the highway; more common than explained by over-educated garage mechanics. So, what happens if we align all the nuts parallel to a single line? This would happen if the nuts were tightened with a tire iron, and the angle of the handle was the same each time. This pattern gives annoying flashes, but it also gives a backwards-drifting pattern which is 6x slower than the wheel RPM. So it seems that these patterns are probably accidental.
Testing: I uploaded a couple of videos:
|07/14/2006||I finally added an IR photo gallery to the DIY IR GOGGLES page.|
|07/21/2006||Added lots of "cool science" site links to blog at Stumbleupon.com|
|06/01/2006||They took away our overhead projectors and replaced them with Powerpoint! (That's not fair. Powerpoint is a slide projector, not an overhead.) Now I'll finally get my vengence by infecting the web with... filmstrips!. Please advance to the next image when you hear the beep. BEEEEEEP. (WARNING: embedded MP3 audio)|
|03/12/2006||Updated the guestbook|
The WEIRD SCIENCE SALON is going to
Alaska in May. The 2006
UFO/Paranormal conference from Seattle's Museum of
Mysteries will be held on shipboard this year, the week of May 7th -
14th. If interested, sign up by Feb ?? for low prices.
|01/19/2006||I made it into the University Week, the local UW newspaper|
Hey, if you search Google for the word
second hit is
Experiments! And if you search for the word "oven," then it's the top Google hit.
still leads right here, but
"Science" has moved
way down (once long ago this site was #13 on Google for "science," above
Scientific American and the AAAS!)
|01/15/2006||Added What Is Static Electricity?|
|12/27/2005||Continuing the biological insanity with hot incandescent bacteria on the Bio page.|
|12/25/2005||Added a bit more stuff to the IR Goggles article.|
Energy-sucking atoms and molecules
THOSE GOOGLE ADS
|09/28/2005||Added entries to Electricity FAQ, doorknob sparks, other stuff.|
A moon that fell?
|09/11/2005||Added four MPEG videos to The Secret to Plasma Globes Without Vacuum Pumps.|
|09/07/2005||Added a new electricity misconception to the Electricity section.|
|08/15/2005||More about nanobacteria in the biology section. (This is a fairly exciting controversy!) Suppose that when a bacterium splits in half, each half takes half the genome. If the two bacteria remained together, they could trade metabolic molecules and survive. Suppose they split into two, four, eight, etc. If this slowly happened over millenia, we could end up with species of bacteria smaller than viruses, where each cell isn't viable alone since they act as specialized organs of a colony. Wouldn't just such an evolutionary trick be the result of a deep underground nano-crevice environment and evolution pressure favoring smallness?|
AMPERES VARIES MAGNET?
More randomness. In the Vasserfadden demo below, how thin could the water thread become? I should think that e-field forces would cause it to resist evaporation, as with electric ice needles. The water filament would be like an electret. But if the thread broke, would it contract to form a droplet, or would the e-field preserve its threadlike form? If it stayed threadlike, this means we could build a network, an aerogel, from nothing but water. The threads would be maintained by the strong e-field (unless closed loops of electrified water filaments are also stable, so the external field could be removed.) An electrically-stablized aerogel made from water vapor would possibly explain the observation of invisible wall phenomena.
|07/25/2005||More old stuff: The Wasserfadden experiment and Giant natural water-thread?|
|07/16/2005||An old article never listed here: Mother and daughter detect plasma-spheres through walls|
SEATTLE WEIRD GENIUS REAL SCIENCE 2005, the 'science
fair' in bldg #30 at Sand Point, Saturday July 16. I'll have a
demo table there with microwave oven, Tesla coil, and bowl of
Remember Plasma Globes without vacuum? Getting ready for the above event; I executed some microwave oven mayhem at Wednesday's Seattle Outsider Artist Project: Dorkbot Mad Science night. New high voltage effects discovered! A microwave oven with nothing inside is a 2.5GHz high voltage source. A bag or balloon of pure Argon usually does nothing... unless you include a tiny fragment of carbon fiber. After the plasma outbreak, the glowing violet-white cloud will grow and grow, melting the bag, then crawling all around looking for every last scrap of argon left in the wilting glob of plastic. Argon inside a glass bowl was similar: when triggered by a speck of carbon fiber, it exploded into a radial burst of wiggling lightning. This was a first: it was normal-looking mini-lightning, but at 2.5GHz frequency! As soon as the argon heated up, the spark-brush turned into a bright fuzzy cloud which rose to the top of the bowl and melted holes in the plastic plate laying across the opening. With a bigger bowl we actually saw some spherical lightning: a small spark at the bottom of the bowl became a 2" glowing hemisphere which rapidly rose, becoming more and more spherical before being distrupted by the plastic plate.
|06/26/2005||Many new entries can be found on the Brain Modification Page|
When you drop a dish, usually it bounces once. Then it shatters on the second bounce. After noticing this effect I started listening for it. Sure enough, in restaurants (etc.), when you hear a plate go "DONGGGGG" when it hits, it usually goes "smash/tinkle" during the second bounce. I FIGURED IT OUT! When the dish hits the first time, it bounces upwards, but it also starts wobbling fiercely. It rings like a bell, and the vibrating edges of the dish are probably moving at several hundred miles per hour. [NO THEY'RE NOT! It's like a spring, and the edge can only move as fast as the plate was moving when it struck. When it comes back down, the wobbling edge could hit at twice the plate's velocity at most.] Now "view the movie in slow motion." The edge of the dish is going in-out-in-out as the dish slowly falls towards the floor. When it arrives, the wobbling edge whacks the floor again and again and again... and it hits at such high speed that it seems like the dish fell from 100ft altitude [wrong, it will seem as if the plate fell from *twice* the altitude of the bounce], not the two feet it fell after the bounce. My conclusion: if you grab for a falling dish but you're not fast enough, don't give up. You have a good chance of either catching it after the first bounce ...or even just *touching* it briefly which will damp out the intense vibrations that usually make the dish explode on contact with the floor.
|06/21/2005||"Spirit Orb Photographs" made with water mist, dry ice frost clouds, fumed silica, etc. I find that a parallel grid of human hair w/separation around 0.5mm on camera lens will cast shadows, essentially drawing lines on each false ghost-orb. If your camera had a hexagonal iris, the "orbs" would all be little hexagons.|
SHOOT PLASMA BOLTS FROM FINGERTIPS!
|06/15/2005||Supermagnet bead tricks. Buy a big wad of 1/4" supermagnet spheres (~$.50 each.) Make buckyballs, mysterious spinners, DNA chains, etc. (I really need to add photos to these!)|
|05/27/2005||Added spam buster to Main amasci guestbook. Now you can see your entries instantly, not weeks later.|
WAVE-MOTION COLAPut some crushed ice in a translucent or transparent cup. Fill it half way with dark cola (the kind with sugar.) Then fill it the rest of the way with diet 7-up or diet lemonade (or even water.)
The ice will distrupt the stream, keeping the two layers from mixing very much. You end up with dark cola at the bottom, and clear stuff at the top. (Sugar is denser.) If you tilt the cup back and forth, you can make slow-motion waves in the cola!
Even if the pizza place doesn't have see-thru cups, you can still use the trick. First add ice, then fill half way with full-sugar drink, then fill it up with diet drink. This creates two layers. You can drink the diet Coke first, leaving the layer of non-diet Sprite for later. Just remember to add the diet drink second, and use a thick layer of ice to disrupt the stream.
Idea for future hoaxes: leave messages on the cardboard tube inside toilet paper rolls. It's not so difficult to remove the tube if you bend it. Write a message, or even apply a professional looking sticker. Or perhaps carry around a rubber stamp made for just this purpose. "HELP, I AM BEING HELD PRISONER IN THIS SCOTT FACTORY." Or "HERE IS THE SECRET PHONE NUMBER, DO YOU DARE TO DIAL IT?" Put several copies on the same tube so it's hard to miss. Or even cause total amazement by wrapping a dollar bill around the thing. Reinstall the tube and put the roll back on the holder.
|05/01/2005||Added better 3D diagrams to In electric circuits, WHERE does the energy flow?|
|04/21/2005||Is this thing a blog? I'm not constantly adding interesting links to other sites as bloggers are supposed to (those kinds of links are mostly on coolsci , wpage, and weird art, also stumble.)|
|04/16/2005||Added months of messages to the Main Guestbook|
|04/10/2005||Added: When I die, I wanna be...|
|03/25/2005||I built a Large art device. Eighty four tesla coils driving 84 fluorescent tubes. It was up at COCA gallery this March (Seattle,) and is going to be at Bumbershoot, Sept 2-5.|
|03/24/2005||Added The $1 Tesla Coil|
The DC electric motor was invented by accident!
|02/21/2005||Added Determining Charge Polarity to Static Electric page|
|02/09/2005||Wow! I had a "Vanishing Object" experience while stirring my coffee. Scary.|
Ant trails at work. A narrow stream of black ants is flowing across my lab bench, up the side of a water bottle, into the squirt-tube and down inside. They're harvesting distilled water?!! The trail is coming from the floor, up the side of a box, across the top edge of some papers standing on edge, then up the voltmeter wires which happen to dangle over the edge of the tabletop. Following the trail backwards, I find that it goes about a HUNDRED AND TWENTY FEET back to the Mass Spectrometry lab at the end of the hall! It disappears under a fume hood. There must be several thousand ants in the trail. I guess the Chem. building ant nest must be hard up for water. I brush away ants and create a 3ft gap by cleaning away their scent trail with alcohol. But an hour later the gap has closed again. Ants trapped on the far side of the gap apparently find their way across.
Playing with ant trails! I move the water bottle, but then the arriving ants start spreading all over the desk. So I give the ant colony a wet cookie (placed 120ft away near the origin of the trail.) If the ants are a signal in an optical fiber, then the cookie should act like an impedance mismatch; reflecting the outbound ants back to the nest. Sure enough, after an hour the ant stream decreases greatly. I brush the remaining ants onto the floor and disrupt their scent trail. But in the morning it has re-formed, this time traveling up to an old bottle of Moxie Cola with a tiny bit of dried syrup in the bottom. They're still using the edge of the papers in the box on the floor, this time crawling up another test lead, transferring to the power cable of the oscilloscope, then up to the shelf with the bottle. OK, this time I convert the entire "ant-flow optical fiber" into a Bragg mirror: I drip some sugar water at many places along the 120ft trail. Quickly the stream of ants at my end of the trail has dropped to zero.
Hmmm: pranking possibilites. If I put a tiny bit of sugar water on a victim's desk, and also deposit a blob of ants, won't a few ants find their way back to the nest and create a new 120ft stream?
|12/29/2004||Update (large) to Science Misconceptions Comment Book|
|12/28/2004||Small addition to "Time-flow Distortion Sensor"|
Another brainstorm! It's crackpot physics time. Remember Pyramid Power? The original claim was that a cardboard pyramid could sharpen a disposable double-edge razor blade. While reading an " Uncle Al" physics note about laser ultra-black beam-dumps composed of stacks of hundreds of standard razors, suddenly several concepts aligned in my brain. First concept: Uncle Al notes that the blackness of the razor-stack can be compromised by knocking the arrayed razor edges against even a soft object. Second concept: by stropping an old-fashioned straight-razor, we do not sharpen it, instead we straighten the bent-over micro-edge of the hard steel. The very tip of the sharp edge becomes folded over with use, and abrading it on a soft surface will grab the edge and bent it straight. Third concept: What if Pyramid Power was genuine after all, but it was actually triggering some sort of memory-metal effect? Not sharpening the blade, but essentially it would spontaneously "strop" a razor blade? Fourth concept: shine a bright LED at a slightly damaged razor-stack beam-dump and use a photodiode to measure any slow changes in the return reflection. Spontaneous blade-straightening would now be measurable. Stick the thing in a pyramid overnight (perhaps with power turned off, if that has any effect.) See if you can detect any auto-stropping effects!
|12/20/2004||Have you met The Krampus? Santa Claus has an evil assistant who punishes bad children. He's a demon from ancient pagan solstice celebrations.|
A great mystery within microwave ovens: WHY DOES THE TURNTABLE SOMETIMES ROTATE BACKWARDS? I always wondered about this. The obvious explanation is that the turntable motor is a 60Hz synchronous induction motor. But why? Synchronous motors aren't as good as the normal kind. One thing might make sense: it forces your turntable to end up in the same position as it started. That way your coffee mug will be at the front, or the handles on the cassarole dish will be positioned correctly. But my microwave oven doesn't do this. Most of the time the mug ends up in a crazy position.
Testing is required. I heated a mug of tea at work for a minute, and for the first time I actually watched the clock as the turntable rotated. AHA! IT ROTATES ONCE EVERY TEN SECONDS!!!! I verified the effect and it does work: as long as you punch in multiples of 10 seconds, your food will come back to its original position. But something's screwy. My oven at home doesn't do this, yet its turntable randomly starts off clockwise or CCW, so it must contain a synchro motor. So I timed the oven at home. Bingo: it rotates every 20 seconds. That explains everything. At home, if I punch in 30 seconds, or 10 seconds, then the turntable rotates an extra half turn, putting the soup bowl on the opposite side. Not to smart. How many people cook things for 20 seconds, or 40 seconds? A 3RPM turntable speed only works if you cook something for one minute. But now that I know about the problem, I can start only using multiples of 20 seconds.
|12/15/2004||Added more to Science Toys, and Weird Links|
I'm playing with a UV keychain LED light. It's not very deep UV (400nM). More like violet. But it will make your teeth glow green, and your fillings are easy to see (I mean the white non-metal ones.) Fluorescing aqueous humor gives you some green pupils! I see little flecks of green all over my arm: fungus? Yep. The thick edges of my heel fluoresce green as well. Huh, what else are these things good for? They will light up the plastic strip inside $5 US dollar bills. They will charge up some ZnS "Glow In The Dark" plastic to very high phosphorescence. Ah, if you draw all over yourself with yellow-green Hi-lighter markers, the UV keychain flashlight makes the invisible lines light up brightly. Draw some finger bones.
|12/3/2004||The toolbar from the Stumbleupon service is addictive. TOO addictive.|
|I'm having fun with a perl command: global search/replace all files in a unix directory. Throughout the whole amasci.com site I've changed all the www.amasci.com addresses into amasci.com, changed all my email addresses into GIF images (harder for spam spiders to read 'em,) and other such things. Here's the single-line unix command syntax below.|
|12/2/2004||Added real Site Statistics Try clicking on some referring URLs|
|I stumbled across
a new food. I feel like the discoverer of yogurt must have felt:
disgusted, but not adverse to putting weird things in their mouth.
purchased some eggplants, and
they were in the fridge for a couple of weeks along with some button
mushrooms. When I finally got around to inspecting them, one was still
OK, but the other one had a large brown spot several inches across.
there was a mushroom stuck to the eggplant in the middle of the brown
region. It was merged. The mushroom mycelia were still alive, and they
trying to absorb the eggplant! The brown region was somewhat soft, and
when I tore the eggplant skin, the hole smelled like mushrooms. I
returned the eggplantmushroom organism back to the fridge. A few days
later I checked again and found that the entire eggplant had been
assimilated. It was soft and mushroom-smelly within. Resistance was
Now I have to try sticking mushrooms against all sorts of different vegetables and see what results. Can mushrooms take over cold salmon? Since the storebought mushrooms are Agaricus Bisporus, we could call the process "Bis-porizing." I also need to try actually cooking one of these mutant beasts. Hmmm. What would happen if you fell into a coma while lying on a mushroom? You'd wake up all brown and mushroomy? With an unstoppable desire to hide inside a compost pile?
|11/28/2004||Ideas for a gallery installation: Demented Pushbuttons|
|11/26/2004||I learned a new word: Pyrrhonian skepticism|
|10/18/2004||Added The width of a coulomb to "Speed of Electricity"|
|Sometimes my subconscious delivers fully-formed visions in answer to questions from years ago. Today's vision: AC Kelvin water-drop generator. Half of a Kelvin electrostatic generator could be placed in the exhaust of a jet engine and produce megavolts at milliamps! There's more. I have a La Violette idea of military aircraft covered with Barium Titanate or perhaps PZT ceramic. How weird. Why PZT sheath? Ah, it's Jean Louis Naudin's "plasma sheet" idea where sonic booms can be eliminated by covering the airplane wings with a glow-discharge. But why use insulating ferroelectric? Well, I know that long dielectric filaments can act as "wires" for high frequency AC (the "right angle circuitry" idea.) If JL Naudin replaced his plastic covered hi-volt wires with PZT-encased wires, he'd still get purple plasma even if his operating frequency was greatly reduced. (Barium titanate acts almost like a metal conductor, as long as you use AC.) BINGO! Drive the Kelvin water-drop "inductor" electrode with slowly changing polarity, and your megavolts output will slowly change polarity also. With a jet engine driving it, how fast could this polarity change be made? Maybe raise it to a few hundred Hz? Without the PZT your metal aircraft would spew lightning bolts. But with the PZT layer, the whole thing would develop a sheet of plasma. It might even absorb radar pulses at the same time it modifies the transonic shock wave fluidics. Whew. It all hangs together and makes some kind of sense. I couldn't assemble the ideas piece-by-piece intentionally. They just pop up when I'm half dazed.|
|10/10/2004||Added Seeing Sound, an untested idea involving mirrors, strobes, and razor blades|
A new traffic-wave phenomenon: the infinitely large traffic jam! I need
to add this to Traffic Waves.|
The "infinite jam" occurs whenever a traffic wave stops moving backwards and instead becomes pinned to a certain point on the highway. It happens when each driver in the jam must sloooooowly crawl past the "pinning point" before accelerating freely again. A cop car by the roadside can cause this. So can a bridge crest or blind curve. In other words, the trailing edge of a traffic wave stops evaporating normally... yet its leading edge still grows as before, since more cars are piling on from behind. The region of solidly-packed traffic grows larger and larger with nothing to halt its growth. HOWEVER... if a single driver can pull the edge of the wave back away from the pinning point, then the wave begins moving again. The edge of the jam begins evaporating normally, and cars which pass the former pinning point have no reason to slow down (i.e. the "pinning" effect only occurs if a slow dense traffic-wave goes past.) Once un-pinned, the huge jam stops growing. It doesn't dissipate, but if it had yet to grow enormous, one driver can nip the gigantic traffic jam in the bud. It only takes one car to unplug one lane. In Seattle we have at least three of these continously-growing jams: the bridge crest on I-5 at the ship-canal bridge, and on 520 at the bridge crest just before the Lake Washington floating brige, and on I-5 North near the Senaca St. exit where cars exit into the express lanes. I've also seen these on 520 many times, where a cop has pulled someone over, causing a two-mile traffic jam to form (people won't roar off into the empty roadway if a cop is right there, so they drive many yards past before peeling out... so the wave remains pinned, and the backup grows enormous.)
Finding some old files never linked here:|
2D "gravity" sensor, also detects e-fields and strong magnets
Plasma/aerogel life forms in our atmosphere
Fringe Science and breakthroughs
I was imagining crowds of people walking on city sidewalks, versus crowds
driving on highways. The atmosphere is totally different. Our cars act
as our masks, making us anonymous. (Well, some of us make tatoos with
spraycans and stickers.) But while commuting, we're silenced and cannot
talk (or even communicate) with everyone around us. Hmmm. Maybe I could
build myself a voice? How about an ultra-powerful broadband
comb-frequency FM transmitter which could override nearby car radios
regardless of which station they're tuned to? Too much work.
Brainstorm! Cellphones. An experiment for the daring: print out a large
bumper-sticker on adhesive paper and stick it on the rear of your car.
(Cover it with clear tape to waterproof the paper.) The sticker
|09/12/2004||Added "Reality Detector Goggles" to Misc Screwy Ideas|
|09/12/2004||I've been volunteering at Seattle's new UFO/Bigfoot museum.|
|09/12/2004||Added more to Childhood Brain Modification, and Toys|
|Idea for "Orbs" believers. "Orbs" are bright sphere- or disk-objects that show up when photographing cemetaries, haunted houses, etc. But many of these are simply the photoflash-illuminated dust motes or mist droplets hanging a few inches in front of the camera. The circular "orb shape" is a blurred image of a bright dot, and the shape is determined by the camera iris edge. If your camera iris is circular, the "orb" will appear as a disk, but if the iris is octagonal, the orb will look like an octagon. Ooo, idea! To settle the matter, place an opaque object on your camera lens! E.g. stick a thin slice of black electric tape across the lens. Or even make an "X shape" from thin tape slices. Now whenever you photograph a bright, small, blurred object such as a dust mote, the dark strips of tape will show up in the bright circular "orb image." On the other hand, if the "orb" is real, and is large and distant from the camera, you'll see no shadow-image of the opaque tape cutting across the "orb." Presto: any possible "orbs" can be instantly separated from the dust-mote images; the real orbs won't have a big fuzzy "X" across them. Also see some more ghost hunting suggestions.|
|08/27/2004||Adding more to Why Airfoils Are Hard To Understand|
|08/26/2004||Hey, should I start using some blog software, so passerbys can comment on these entries and turn this into an entire forum? The "slashdot of science?"|
|08/20/2004||Oops, forgot to add this here: Pykcrete: making the ice which does not melt.|
|07/22/2004||Working on: What is laser "coherence? (VERY under construction)|
|I never really understood laser "coherence." While working on science museum exhibits, I found that books were full of mistaken explanations. Over the years I've noticed that even the advanced textbooks get it wrong. They talk as if laser coherence is caused by stimulated emission. Nope. The laser-medium amplifies light. But if you give it some incoherent light, it will only amplify it while preserving the incoherence. But then why do lasers emit coherent light? I finally figured it out. It's because the laser mirrors cause the laser to behave as a near-perfect "point source." As light bounces between the mirrors, any light which doesn't seem to come from a single tiny point will eventually wander away and be lost off the edge of the mirrors, while any light which DOES come from one tiny point will keep bouncing and be amplified. Get two parallel mirrors and look into the "infinite tunnel." Only light that comes from the distant "infinite" point will avoid crashing into the walls of the tunnel. (How many physicists or even laser researchers know that laser coherence is caused by the laser cavity? Textbooks teach that it's caused by individual atoms, by "in-phase emission!)|
|07/17/2004||Added Complaints of suppression are not Conspiracy Theories|
|07/13/2004||Massive ISP server crash, things being restored from backups|
|07/12/2004||Added Bigger Better Balls, M. Crowley's paper on easy ball-lightning, also Easiest Ball Lightning Yet|
|07/12/2004||Added lots more "things" to Childhood Brain Modification tricks page|
|07/09/2004||Added a GIF anim, a Fake Live Webcam|
WSCI: Demented idea, INBOX POETRY: send a string of blank |
WSCI: messages where the subject lines form a poem to be
WSCI: read directly from their inbox without opening any
WSCI: email. Send them slowly, otherwise the vagarities
WSCI: of web traffic will jumble the order... but not TOO
WSCI: slowly, or every other line will be the subject line
WSCI: from some spam message. OOOoooo! Design the lines
WSCI: of the poem to be read in ANY order, then send 'em all
WSCI: in one glob and let the net have it's way with 'em.
WSCI: Internet Haiku is born!
|07/05/2004||Animated background-GIFs are possible? Oh the humanity.|
|We live in a free country? Well, I personally know two science people who've been raided in the last five years. One was invaded by the local cops because they decided that his home lab was a "crack lab." Another was raided by the FBI after they decided he was a child pornographer. They of course found nothing at all in either case. And in past years the state of California tried to make it illegal for individuals to own chemistry glassware. And now the guy below is hassled for having biology lab equipment at home. This crap is DANGEROUS. I'm not very political, but I know exactly who is the poster-child for the highly ignorant "dark forces" pouring fecal matter on the US constitution. I advise any science-hobby people in the USA to think very carefully about this trend before casting votes in the upcoming election. Consider writing your elected official. So few people do this, that if you decide to write, your voice will have an unusually large impact.|
BAD NEWS: FBI GOES AFTER A SCIENCE-ARTIST | Cops tackle, cuff scientist for being in woods|
Forum | WIRED story | CSM Article | TV coverage
Defense fund | More news | "Free Range Grain"
I just bought my own overhead projector. Apparently Boeing engineers
are ditching all of theirs, so they're only $25 at Boeing Surplus
warehouse in Seattle; (more for the fancy collapsible portable versions.)
In the past at very small conferences I've had problems because they'll set
up video for laptops, yet balk at tracking down an overhead. I've always
wanted one of my own.
More shameless self promotion: here's my only invention for sale:|
Visible Electricity, sold by Arbor Scientific
|05/09/2004||Slapped together a tiny site for Seattle Outsider Artist Project S.O.A.P.|
|05/04/2004||I'm making a Seattle Links page. Abnormal resources.|
|05/08/2004||Moved microwave pyrex lava to Unwise Experiments|
|Friday, time for another Weird Science Salon, the monthly meetings at my place in Seattle. But after all these years they've finally grown too large for this small livingroom. Tonight's meeting will be at Seattle's new UFO museum, the Museum of the Mysteries, on Broadway in the the Capitol Hill region. 730PM to midnight. The usual bulk-purchase stuff will be for sale: supermagnets, levitation graphite, ferrofluid samples, scihobb bumper stickers, copper Lenz-law tubes, 7,500Vdc power supplies, etc.|
|05/07/2004||Added a bit to Physics Sermon #49|
|04/26/2004||Old article, never linked here: The Research Game|
|03/22/2004||Added On defeating shyness|
|03/22/2004||Added Nipple Cola|
|03/16/2004||The Network54 free web-forum service has unethical features: some of their popup ads take over your IE browser and install a new default homepage; an advertisement.|
|03/15/2004||Heh. Traffic in the year 2050, another traffic animation :)|
|03/03/2004||Holy creeping Capitalism Batman! It's the end of an era. Sci. Hobbyist now has BANNER ADS. But wait, there's more! The ads are run by Google, there's no graphics, and the products are somewhat chosen via the website keywords: science toys, kits, high voltage devices, etc. I'm putting most of them along the site edge like ads in a magazine. Comments? Is google an evil giant corporation? Not just yet. We'll see...|
|03/01/2004||Our group got some publicity in Seattle Times (back in Sept) Here's the photo that went with the above.|
|02/17/2004||A talking creepy billb head made by Sandra P. RATS!!! the Hanes veepers site is now dead. Try this one instead. Or this Al Jarry head talking in his infamous monosyllables.|
|Huh. If you search Google for keyword "microwave oven," guess which site is right at the top of the list?|
NEWS FLASH: Molten lava in your microwave oven! I had a piece of
volcanic glass from a science store, so I perched it on the end of a
vertical metal cylinder placed in my microwave, heated it to a dull red
glow with a propane torch, then turned on the oven for several minutes.
A hotspot appeared on the obsidian, grew bright, then moved to the
interior. After awhile the obsidian fragment glowed red again and the
surface softened and cracked open, revealing a brightly glowing yellow
interior which started flowing outwards. Mini lava flow! When cooled,
I found that the hottest part of the melted obsidian had foamed up and
turned white. Pumice! Creating pumice in your kitchen from home-made
molten lava. Apparently this obsidian is full of dissolved gasses, so
it must have originally cooled while still underground (under pressure)
where it couldn't turn into pumice or into an ash cloud. Note that I
only succeeded after removing the glass platter from the oven. With no
other big absorbers in the oven, the platter was eating all the watts.
OLDER: trying to melt pumice in a microwave oven. It does glow
orange when nuked (pre-heat with propane to trigger the effect.) But
only the sharp edges soften. Next to try: changing ash from Mt. St.
Helens back into lava again.
EVEN OLDER: microwave ovens can melt glass, but only if the glass is
first pre-heated to dull red heat. I melted a hole in the side of a
bottle by nuking it, after first heating up a small spot with a
plumber's torch. I had to stop it after 60 seconds or the stream of
liquid glass might touch and shatter the rotating glass platter.
The bottle shattered during cooling, so wear goggles!
|11/12/2003||Added more to Unwise Microwave Oven Experiments: FAQ|
|10/27/2003||SCIAM SCIENCE PROJECTS ARE BACK! I fixed the links on sciam1.html so they now point to backup copies at archive.org|
|Igor says repeat this loudly over and over until your IQ drops significantly: LITTLE TINY HEAD. NO ROOM FOR BRAIN! Little TINY head. NO room for BRANE...|
|10/24/2003||Found some more interesting toys|
|Sometimes at a boring party you'll find some helium balloons used as decorations. You task is to release them from bondage. Fly! Be free! But sitting against the ceiling is not freedom. So, collect carrot sticks and celery from the food trays, tie a hunk to each balloon, trim down their strings to a minimum, then carefully nibble down the hanging vegetable until the balloon neither falls nor rises. Leave it hanging in air, and it will float annoyingly around on the air currents, or perhaps be attracted to the back of various hair-dos by electrostatic forces (especially if you've thoroughly rubbed the entire surfaces of each balloon against your arm-hair before letting it loose.) OK, Dr. Von Fronk-en-steen, now combine several mylar balloons to make a single monster duct-tape zero-gee asteroid! (See link below)|
|10/22/2003||Added Antigrav Boulder. Your pet asteroid drifts around the house.|
|The "Rijke tube" is a very strange device. Jam some metal screen into one end of a metal pipe, hold it vertically with the screen end downwards, and heat the screen with a flame. The thing starts loudly howling. The gentle convection-breeze with the hot screen acts as an audio amplifier. The howl is feedback (a longer tube makes a lower tone.) Brainstorm: inject helium or CO2 into the lower end to change the tone. Send it a sequence of gasses and it will change your gas-data stream into music. Or be boring, and just add a telescoping pipe to create a Thermal Trombone.|
|09/30/2003||Added an Excel numerical toy, a pulse-wave crawling along a power line.|
|Poor man's liquid nitrogen: chunks of dry ice in an insulated container of rubbing alcohol. Amazingly enough, many of the things you can do with liquid nitrogen are associated with its great thermal coupling power. It's a liquid, so it touches the entire surface of any object dipped within. Dry ice is cold, and SEEMS to work poorly, so most people assume that this is because it's only -110F, not -320F. Wrong. It's because dry ice is not a liquid, and any object stuck into a dry ice container is insulated by the layer of gas. It cools down, but only very slowly. So, use dry ice chunks to chill some alcohol! Then try freezing and shattering a rose or a rubber band. Make springs and chimes out of solder or lead sheets. Dip an operating LED into the stuff and watch it grow intensely bright. Some supermarkets carry dry ice (such as QFC in Seattle.) Or check your yellow pages. A buck a pound.|
|09/22/2003||Added a separate Comment Book to Electricity Questions page|
|As a kid I tried to grow crystals using table salt. But first I made a big jar of salt solution so the white stuff would settle out (salt is normally full of anti-caking agent.) But then, my salt solution ESCAPED! It crawled out and made a run for freedom. You see, salt grows crust, but the crust is wet with concentrated salt solution. So then the crust grows crust. And more crust grows on that. Within a matter of hours your jar of salt solution can grow crust on the glass which extends up the side and over the lip, and then the wet crust becomes a siphon. If the humidity is low, the salt water crawls out and forms a large pool on the floor, leaving a mysteriously empty jar. Hey, maybe this explains how battery acid can escape from your car battery and form those big white crusty things on the battery terminals.|
|08/01/2003||Always adding more to Weird Links, non-science|
|People spend years learning to sound just like Jimmy Stewart or Elvis. Why not do something far more useful: do impressions of YOURSELF, but a version of yourself who has a trachea full of Helium. Make tapes of yourself on helium, then learn to speak the same way but without any helium. Get several others together and go on the road... "Barbershop Faux Helium Singers." Maybe do some Mitch Miller numbers.|
|07/22/2003||Added PFI, a local Seattle legend, gourmet food warehouse store.|
|07/18/2003||Added Fingernails on blackboard, explained!|
|Hey, that "threadlike electric wind" phenomenon from 1998 won the Nobel prize last year. Dr. J. Fenn uses it to make a row of micro droplets each with protein molecules inside, then evaporates the water, leaving a "beam" of charged proteins which can be accelerated in a vacuum chamber and their mass determined. "Electrospray ion-trap mass spectrometry." The tiny droplets can travel at tens of MPH through the air apparently because they behave like a moving column, not like individual droplets. Nikola Tesla wanted to use liquid mercury electrospray micro-droplets accelerated by a 100 Megavolt VandeGraaff machine. He claimed that it was an effective weapon over many kilometers. Like a water-jet cutter, but with a much smaller and denser "blade."|
|06/10/2003||Adding more to How Transistors REALLY work. Also a short version.|
|If escalators are driven by standard AC motors, then as more and more people pile onto the descending escalator, finally the current phase will reverse and energy will be dumped into the power grid. The esclator's induction motor becomes a generator! The escalator lowers all those heavy flesh hunks, and the energy has to go somewhere. If you want to make a small donation to a company whose building has escalators, then walk up the stairs, but ride the escalator down.|
|06/05/2003||Experimenting with cyborg text brain implants: the RSVP speed-reading protocol. It's like text-to-speech software, but aimed at your retinas rather than ears. Disable your eyes' muscles and pour the text directly into your brain at high speed. Here are three examples done in GIF animation: slow, fast, faster. See Speeder reader museum exhibit.|
|06/04/2003||Making The Ice which does not Melt|
|05/24/2003||At long last added an actual biology section.|
|05/24/2003||Added Human IR sense detects hail? to the 'weird sci.' section. It's subjective and might not be real, so I didn't put it under 'amateur sci.'|
|Sheep mowing your lawn? Forget it! You'd have to build a barn for 'em and clean up the sheep poop. BRAINSTORM: plant your whole yard with catnip, and let the neighborhood cats keep it trimmed. Actually this might even work. I noticed that at the end of winter my flowerpot of catnip on the front porch wasn't regrowing, yet the stump had many tiny leaves. I put a cage over it and within a day there were large green shoots taking off. Neighborhood cats had kept it trimmed way back.|
|05/20/2003||Added to misconception list: a Lemon Battery can't light a bulb. This classic school science experiment actually doesn't work. It never did. Fortunately there are other things you can do with a lemon battery. Also, if you have a supercapacitor, then you can cheat.|
|04/18/2003||Found old article: making square wheels Anyone with some machine shop skills should try making a set of these things. They look really cool when made in gleaming polished acrylic. Stick them on a little axel and they'll roll smooth and silently across a glass tabletop... yet they're CUBES. The tetrahedron version looks almost as odd.|
|Where's the dividing line between "site update news" and "Blog"? Have I injected sufficient humorous comments to qualify?|
|03/30/2003||Added OK, how do wings REALLY work to the Airfoil mistake section|
|02/11/2003||Updated hoaxes page with "Radioactive Nightmare" Also "megavolt body charger." Make yourself into a human VandeGraaff generator. Use laying-on-of-hands to perform anti- healing ceremonies on cellphones and laptops.|
The word of the day is "Serrodyne." I've heard of Heterodyne and
even Superheterodyne, but "Serrodyne" is a new one on me. How could
I have missed it? Simple: it's very recent. Also it's very
weird: change an incoming high-freq signal's frequency by using
Doppler shift! Then just add your frequency-shifted signal to
the original, and then a nonlinear detector will give you a nice
low-freq signal at the difference frequency. Hobbyists take note:
it lets you treat a light signal as if it were a radio channel.
Split any laser into several different frequencies, then put
separate data streams on each!
For a microwave signal, just pipe it through a TWT (Travelling
Wave Tube) while constantly increasing the drive voltage on the
electron beam. For a light signal, just constantly move one end
of an optical fiber (or instead wrap the fiber around a cylinder
of piezo material and then constantly increase the cylinder
diameter.) This shifts the frequency by a constant value. Mix
it with the original, shine it on a photodiode, and you've
moved a piece of the optical spectrum down into the radio
spectrum! Pretty cool, eh? Serrodyne lets you treat light
as if it were radio frequency.
Of course you can't keep up the constant change forever, and that's
where the "Serro" part comes in. Just move things in a sawtooth wave.
Give your optical fiber constant drift in order to create doppler
shift, but every so often jump it back to the start. Except for
those brief jumps, the signal frequency will end up shifted. In
other words, you've created "Serrated heterodyne."
|02/07/2003||Updated misconceptions list with why do clouds float? Clouds DON'T stay up there because the droplets are small, or because they're so light that existing updrafts can lift them. They stay up there because the air inside the cloud is warm. Oh, and why is the sky blue? Simple answer, but not one I've ever seen in any book.|
|12/28/2002||Added Drawing Holograms By Hand (2003), presented at SPIE Imaging conference. I actually submitted a paper to a science journal. It's just a conference proceedings, but still. Last thing I "published" was around 1980 as a coauthor on an instrumentation design for vision studies.|
Added IR filter-goggles, $10 These really do work. Greenery in the landscape looks very weird. They let you see right through certain types of black IR filter. Be careful though, it might not be wise to use them without good solid UV protection.06/12/02
Added Dishonest Argument section to Closedminded Science During the next flamewar you can point out all your opponents' illegal ploys. Or not. "Never argue with an idiot. They just drag you down to their level, then beat you with experience."06/07/02
Added more to Electricity Misconceptions06/06/02
Added Local Seattle Tech Jobs During job-search I couldn't find a good Seattle jobs portal with all these company pages. So I made a primitive one.05/07/02
Writing Ridiculed Discoverers, a list Aimed at those people who are certain that scientific concensus never makes mistakes, certain that crazy claims in science are never proved valid in later decades.04/??/02
Added Twenty Scientific Attitudes from 1/1990 Rational Enq.04/28/02
Added more to Skeptic Fallacies: They Laughed at the Wright Brothers Three very common arguments I constantly encounter in online Skeptic forums.04/28/02
Found an old article of mine: Watts, Ohms, Volts, and Amps Two things flow in wires: charge and energy... but they are deeply interconnected via voltage and Ohm's law.04/23/02
Updated the High-voltage diodes and coil-winding page02/23/02
Sorted the UNUSUAL PHENOMENA archive02/08/02
Added some ebay sections to Electronics Hobbyist11/17/01
Merged the english text into Grebennikov insect-antigrav book chapter Best crackpot article I've ever seen! It has all the earmarks of a genuine discovery. That, or the guy spins a very believable tale. Biological nanostructures which harness undiscovered elements of gravitational physics! Since he kept the "antigrav" insect species name secret, we'll never know if it was real.10/30/01
Fixed up weird newsgroups08/20/01
Added Brief testing of the Morton Effect I couldn't reproduce his claims. But then later I realized that my VDG machine has the wrong polarity. I'll have to take it apart someday and reverse the rollers.08/16/01
Update to carbon-to-iron experiment Alchemy! heresy! Striking an arc between big carbon blocks apparently creates a form of stainless steel, but without the usual problem of "radioactive grad students" or even incandescent chickens.08/11/01
Added How do Transistors Work? No, how do they REALLY work. What if we don't trust textbooks, but instead figure out the physics from first principles? This is the "Babylonian" method espoused by Feynman (as opposed to the Euclidian math-worshipping method used by contemporary science.)08/09/01
Old article: "Bions, leukocytes, and floaters" Wilhelm Reich's "orgone energy" is partly based on a misperception; strange wigglers in the environment are actually inside your eye.07/05/01
Added GIF diagrams to Tesla's Greatest Mistake He used the Earth as a giant waveguide for 5KHz power transmission.05/30/01
Got Adobe Atmosphere? (free!) Ever wanted to try building 3D objects? Or wondered whether the www of the future will be holographic? Get in on the ground floor! The free beta software lets you make complicated 3D objects and then publish them on the web as 3D 'worlds.' Make your own online science museum or sculpture gallery. Best of all, there's a realtime chat server, and your users can see each other!04/07/01
Playing with Adobe's Virtual Reality beta plugin & worlds04/04/01
Added entries to Electricity Misconceptions03/20/01
Added a CUPPA BURNING PLASMA to microwave demos Your microwave oven can create a pool of fluorescent gas. Poke at it quantum mechanically with salt grains. It gets fiercely hot though, and can shatter your Pyrex glassware.03/18/01:
Added a graph of leakage for a small gravcap test (no thrust!)03/04/01:
Added a couple of GIF drawings to INLINE KELVIN'S THUNDERSTORM Make high voltage with no moving parts except dribbling water.01/30/01:
Added Ultra-simple hovercraft plans. These blower-driven plates can lift immense weights. We piled on as many kids as would fit, yet the darned things still glided along.01/28/01:
Added photos to BEHAVIOR INSTRUCTIONS Skull awareness! Slowly, ever slowly my text-only prejudice is eroding...01/25/01:
Added more answers to My Answers at Madsci01/05/01:
Tesla's Shade whispers: "Coupled Oscillators." OoooooOOoo. The last wisps of summertime visionary experience still stun.02/17/00:
More Energy Suction [LINK WAS BAD] What can yuh do with a drunken photon?12/25/00:
Added crude diagrams to Capacitor Complaints12/10/00:
Added WHERE in the circuit does energy flow? (lots o' pictures!)11/20/00:
Added Right Angle Circuitry11/14/00:
Added animation to Flight Analogy11/11/00:
Added more to Interesting Toys07/22/00:
Added Airfoil Explanations07/22/00:
Added an exerpt from TEXTBOOKS FLUNK OUT06/30/00:
Added 'Squealing wall' laser demonstration06/27/00:
Sorted the UNUSUAL PHENOMENA archive05/13/00:
Added Smoke Ring Animation03/31/00:
FOOD FOR THOUGHT: How can long EM waves be sent through a tiny hole?03/25/00:
New report of a success with "gravity capacitor". To follow the discussion, see escribe. To see how to subscribe to this forum, see the FREENRG-L page.03/25/00:
Added Pure Horganism to Closeminded Science section03/16/00:
Major "energy-sucking antenna" debate on the SCI.PHYSICS.ELECTROMAG and the SCI.ELECTRONICS.DESIGN newsgroups caused me to add this simplified analysis of the "small resonant antenna" phenomenon.03/07/00:
Added a new page: INTERESTING TOYS02/20/00:
A freeware "traffic waves" screensaver sent to me. (.SCR for MS-WIN)02/17/00:
More Energy Suction
12/30/99 Added more stuff to What Is Electricity? and FAQ 11/16/99 Added an animation to traffic experiments 10/26/99 Added High-speed blimp-vortex, a silly idea. 9/25/99 Added WHO REALLY INVENTED "LEVITRON?"& 9/25/99 Added Levitron& and dishonesty 09/20/99 Added Nerd/Misfit Resources and Don't blow up your school 09/18/99 Added Cognitive Processes and Science-suppression 09/17/99 Added Crackpot Theory the 3rd: "Invisible Wall" acoustic effect 09/08/99 Added Crackpot Theory the 2nd: Energy-sucking Quantum Electrodynamics 09/08/99 Added VDG WEIRDNESS: The Morton Effect 09/01/99 Added WEIRD STUFF: anti-chirp scalar wave for Star Trek 'force field' 09/01/99 Added Publicize inventions via "infection" 09/01/99 Added UPDATE: Vector-potential free-energy device idea! 08/29/99 Added My first crackpot theory: vector-potential energy source 07/30/99 Added Energy-sucking radio antennas 06/27/99 Added Tesla's Big Mistake 06/15/99 Added Benveniste's "water memory" send over wires 05/28/99 Started a new discussion group for Amateur Science: SCICLUB-LIST 05/17/99 Boston Globe article: TEXTBOOKS FLUNK OUT 05/13/99 Added Exploding Coffee Water to Microwave oven page 05/13/99 Old file that I never put on miscons page: Capacitor Complaint 04/14/99 Started an Electricity FAQ [UNDER CONST.] 04/12/99 More about What is Voltage [STILL UNDER CONST.] 03/30/99 Added Electricity is not a form of energy! 03/25/99 Added The difference between "current" and "static" 02/25/99 Added Evolution Heresy 02/15/99 Updated Ion Experiments (untried, suggested experiments.) 02/05/99 Added "Static Electric" means "HIGH VOLTAGE" 02/05/99 Worked on FAQ: Why I'm involved in Fringe Science. 02/04/00 Added Weird science IS perception. 02/02/99 Added LINKS: The Amateur Scientist column at SciAm magazine 01/31/99 Added Physics Sermon 01/30/99 Added more "abhorrence" to Abhorrent ideas in Science 01/22/99 Added What a Shocking career! 01/21/99 Added Fringe-sci and Crackpots and Breakthroughs, Oh My! 01/18/99 Added a couple of Torsion-waves papers to Spin Waves page. 12/26/98 Added hardware diagram to "Electrostatic Air Threads" page. 12/20/98 New DOMAIN NAME: http://amasci.com = http:/www. amasci.com/ Just remember "AMASCI". No more of that "eskimo ,dot, com, slash, tilde... you know, *tilde*, the spanish "enya," that little squiggle thing, the one over the backwards apostrophe key? OK? ..then billb, with two L's, NO, NOT billD, billB, with a "B" as in "boy," ...etc. 12/14/98 Added Commercial sources links page for electrostatic generators 12/07/98 Fixed up THE END OF SCIENCE 12/06/98 Added 'Gotchas', antigravity experimental artifacts 12/03/98 Late notice: added FREE STUFF for teachers links 11/28/98 Added PARASCIENCE VS. PSEUDOSCIENCE 11/27/98 Broke my Quotes Collection loose from Closeminded 11/26/98 Added Feynman book links to Feynman Page 11/26/98 Addition to Audio Illusion 11/25/98 Added WEIRD NEWSGROUPS 11/08/98 Added ALT.SCI.AMATEUR 10/28/98 Sorted the UNUSUAL PHENOMENA archive 10/25/98 Weeded dead links & organized Electronics Hobbyist page 10/8/98 Added newsgroup links to sci. ed. groups, sci. amateur groups, and homeschooling page 9/24/98 Added Skeptics Links page to WEIRD SCIENCE 9/13/98 Added AIP Misconceptions List to the Miscon Page 7/13/98 Added TRAFFIC EXPERIMENTS 7/8/98 Added TRAFFIC JAM CURE 6/27/98 Added You'll go Blind! 6/18/98 Added a Site Map (this is a big site, eh? Large, even.) 6/5/98 Bookstore: Buy books, help out THE SCIENCE CLUB 6/6/98 Added Mysterious Electrostatic Air-threads 6/2/98 Added Science Museum Exhibits addable database 6/2/98 Made The Instructions into an addable database 5/25/98 Added What is Voltage [UNDER CONST.] 5/22/98 Added Ion Experiments (untried, suggested experiments.) 5/1/98 Added Anti-spam resources 5/8/98 Added VandeGraaff Generator Debugging 5/4/98 Added Edu Newsgroups collected links to Dejanews service 5/1/98 Added The DISGUSTO-SCOPE, a reprehensible use of innocent optical physics 4/25/98 Added Mark Rehorst's Building Electrostatic Loudspeakers 4/25/98 Added SCIENCE DISCUSSIONS to AMATEUR SCI. 4/1/98 Added The Instructions (childhood brain modification) 4/3/98 Added a Comment Book to Miscon page 3/14/98 Figured out Dejanews archive access, added one to Closeminded (see Philosophizin') 3/11/98 Started MADSCI ANSWERS page, answers I submitted to the "Ask a Scientist" project. 3/8/98 Started Spin Waves, about a little-known backwater in physics which might explain Psi, also 'free energy' and antigrav reports. 3/5/98 Started Who's Who in Frontier Physics 2/25/98 Added more stuff to site FAQ 2/23/98 Response about "abundance" chain-letters 2/22/98 Added "Am I just a pedantic science-nitpicker?" to Misconceptions page 2/21/98 Added Todd Knudtson "Brown's Gas" article 2/21/98 Added Abhorrant Ideas in Science to Closeminded. 2/19/98 Added a SEARCHpage, w/sorted list of most popular pages here 2/14/98 Added PHYSL's Textbook Misconceptions List 1/31/98 Added NEGATIVE ION GENERATOR to ELECTROSTATIC MOTOR 1/30/98 Added some explanation to Mechanical Maglev 1/27/98 Added TRAFFIC WAVES 1/08/98 Added more to Vandegraaff Explanations (w/GIFs), and a VDG FAQ 1/04/98 Added Science/Spiritual section to Weird Science 12/01/97 Added Balloon Analogy to Wings Misconception Page 11/30/97 Updated edu.html with Science Lesson Plans links 11/16/97 Added THAT WHICH IS NOT SO... YET 10/25/97 Added HOW *SHOULD* WE TEACH ELECTRICITY? 10/12/97 Added KEEPING YOUR BEAD ON THE WIRE to Closeminded Science 10/4/97 Accidental rm of dir. /weird, mostly restored now ( any new URL additions to Weird Sci. page were lost) I need to build a kicking machine like in coyote/roadrunner, to gently remind myself not to use rm *.* 9/15/97 Working on Dry Ice Demos 8/31/97 Started a Free Energy FAQ 8/31/97 Redid Science Misconceptions, added an index. 8/23/97 Added Vortex Cannons 8/21/97 Added Antibubbles! 8/16/97 Added Prometheus Game 8/11/97 Remembered to add here: Crackpot Inventor's Rules 8/11/97 Added Screwy Ideas Archive 7/31/97 Digests at eskimo.com are malfunctioning, including freenrg-digest 7/24/97 Added "Acoustimagnetoelectricism" to Misconceptions page 7/16/97 Added Pseudoscience to Closeminded Sci. 7/14/97 Added Ridiculously sensitive charge detector 7/9/97 Added The Electricity Map 6/28/97 Added Lens vs. Pinhole to Miscons page. 6/16/97 Created Chemistry and magnetism page. 6/8/97 Created ELECTRICITY ARTICLES page 5/22/97 Added They Laughed at the Wright Brothers to Closeminded Science 4/9/97 Added Flowing "static electricity", Enlarged Site FAQ 4/7/97 Added Hum Notes, Hum References, and Bristol Hum to the Taos Hum Page 4/5/97 Bill B. on the Laura Lee radio show on alternative science. Topic: the "Taos Hum". Go to TSTRADIO for realaudio archive (warning: after free demo time, costs $$) 3/28/97 Added A germ theory of education 3/25/97 Added Heretic's booklist to Closeminded Science 3/15/97 Added Hints for building electrostatic devices 3/15/97 Added a site FAQ. 3/14/97 Enlarged the Seattle Weird Sci. Hobbyists page 3/9/97 Enlarged Sticky Electrostatics 3/5/97 Enlarged the LED explanation article 3/4/97 Enlarged the Hologram Hints page 2/23/97 Added What is a VDG 2/23/97 Added Tornado Chamber 1/17/97 Added Tampere Replication and Test Ideas to Antigravity Page 1/15/97 Added Gravity distortion viewer to Not your average const. project 1/8/97 Added Audio Absorber to Not your average const. project
Merry X-mass! Added UFO Binoculars to Not your average const. project12/15/96:
Added Swartz editorial on lift calc. to Bernoulli Misconception page12/14/96:
Added "ice skate" misconception to K-6 Misconceptions page12/7/96 :
Created Webpage Flaws page12/7/96:
Created a separate Plasma Sphere page12/7/96:
Extended Sparks & Lightning article11/30/96:
Extended my Homopolar Generator article11/17/96:
Added SPEED OF ELECTRICITY article to misconceptions page11/17/96:
Started Science Fair Ideas Exchange10/27/96:
Added "Ball Lightning" tube of Irving Langmuir article10/27/96:
Started Airfoil Misconception page10/26/96:
Started small Richard Feynman page for bookmarks10/18/96:
Started SCIENCE EXHIBITS bulletin board (unused, now deleted.)10/18/96:
Started science exhibits discussion WEBHEAD-L10/16/96:
eskimo.com off the net. Any mail lost?9/26/96:
Added Maverick versus Conventional Science (to Closeminded Sci.)9/25/96:
Bill B. on the Laura Lee radio show on alternative science. Topic: Science ridicule of new ideas, infectious textbook errors, drawing holograms by hand. Go to TSTRADIO for realaudio archive (warning: after free demo time, costs $$)9/18/96:
Created REPORT YOUR UNUSUAL PHENOMENA subpage9/18/96:
Created guestbooks for main page, Taos Hum, and kids expt's.9/14/96:
Created ANTIGRAVITY subpage9/13/96:
eskimo.com router crash, WWW and mail no work. Incoming and outgoing email vanishes.8/31/96:
Added SCIENTIFIC CENSORSHIP AND EVOLUTION to 'Closeminded Sci'8/31/96:
Added THE RESEARCH GAME: RULES to 'Closeminded Sci'8/6/96:
eskimo.com Listproc is hung up. No list messages since Sun nite, staff fixed it late tuesday nite. Looks like those messages may be lost.8/4/96:
Connected a Pop Bottle Motor to a bundt-pan Waterdrop Generator for the first time. Igor, IT LIVES! The motor turns a couple of revs and discharges the generator, silently charges up for about 20 seconds, then repeats. Things to try: it might be persuaded to run continuously by installing 20KV diodes in series with the wires to the inducer rings, so that shorting the generator output doesn't discharge the rings instantly.8/3/96:
Added lots of links to the "Asking Science questions" site.5/27/96:
Created "Ball Lightning" subpage.2/17/96:
Drew more diagrams, gave the Wing Lift Misconception its own page.2/7/96 :
Created Vandegraaf and Static Electricity subpage.8/95:
Uploaded some 1993 PCBs and schematics for my "flowing electricity" museum exhibit device "Visible Electricity"5/8/95 :
Putting another invention into public domain: my old Hall-effect, Lift-from-below, maglev device, also rotary-tubes motor maglev3/19/95:
Drew some msPaint diagrams and uploaded "K6 Science Misconceptions" article I'd written for Boston Museum of Science back in 88-89.
__ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ LONG AGO __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __
Met Mike Huffman, mad inventor. Started a temporary majordomo list for discussing his device, calling it Vortex-L.01/95:
There aren't any good Tesla Coil pages. Only fan pages for that rock band. Guess I'll have to make one myself.12/94:
Uploaded some keelynet files called "MRA DEVICE," and spread some announcements on various newsgroups. The resulting flamewar on alt.sci.fusion and sci.physics continued for weeks!11/94:
Uploaded some old MOS Boston science museum exhibit notes: weird devices I conceived but never actually built, other than some crude prototypes.10/94:
Moved over to netcom.com, then put up a crude "science club" website on coho.halcyon.com. Figured out how to use NCSA MOSAIC freeware. Downloaded Winsock shareware from that guy in Australia (but didn't pay for it until like 2009!) Created a webpage on eskimo.com called Amateur Science, typed in some old science museum ideas, schematics, etc. Uploaded 10meg of Keelynet files and started "Weird Science." Convinced Yanoff, Virtual Library, and some guys on Stanford "akebono" to list my page. Those were the days, huh???/93:
Heard about a service in Seattle called "Connected dot com" which gave real internet access for only $30 per month (at 2400baud!!!!) I think my addr was firstname.lastname@example.org. Then I noticed that I wasn't getting billed. And when I missed payments, nothing happened! I contacted other users on the Connected Newsgroups and found that nobody else was receiving bills either. I later heard that the whole userbase at connected.com simply stopped paying. Then the Sheriff's department raided the ISP and shut it down, confiscating all the hardware (which apparently was stolen property.) Ah, the internet. It was already the internet, back before it even really had become the internet.??/92:
Discovered a secret "hole" that gave free internet access!!! This was a big deal back in 1992. On the BBS card catalog for the Seattle Public Library dialup service there was a search for periodicals, but the search window was something called "Gopher" which then led off into a vast network of other sites. After discovering this thing called "Archie", I could find sites that accessed something called "Usenet Newsgroups." I wasted months searching around in all that stuff. I REALLY wanted to learn how to write my own Gopher "hypertext" pages with links to other sites. Too bad Gopher didn't have pictures. Now THAT would have been a good idea: image hypertext like Gopher was, but with graphic images! Why, that would let people publish their own free textbooks. People could display anything they wanted, and the whole world could come and look at it! What if billions of people could poke around in your filing cabinet? What would you put in it for them to find???/89:
On Compuserve, remember the SCIENCE FORUM? I was [71241,3623], hanging out and arguing about Pons Fleischman "CF," the airfoil fallacy, and other such terribly important topics.